Daryl Morey

Free Agency Rumors: Markieff Morris, Craig, Bazemore, Sixers

A Morris brothers reunion might be in play for the Clippers, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News tweets. Dumas notes that there may be mutual interest in adding free agent forward Markieff Morris – most recently of the Lakers – to a Clippers frontcourt that includes newly re-signed forward Marcus Morris, Markieff’s twin brother. Marcus has agreed to a four-year, $64MM deal to remain with the Clippers.

Markieff’s minutes may be relatively minimal, as he would presumably be the fourth big man in the Clippers’ frontcourt rotation, behind starting power forward Marcus, starting center Ivica Zubac, and just-added veteran power forward/center Serge Ibaka, who will be signed using the club’s full MLE after the departure of Montrezl Harrell to the Lakers. Big man Patrick Patterson was also retained by the Clippers this offseason.

Marcus was a key role-playing piece in the Lakers’ championship run after joining the team off waivers this spring. In 18.4 MPG, Markieff averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG, while shooting a stellar 42% on 3.3 three-point attempts per game and 77.8% from the charity stripe across 21 games en route to the Lakers’ 17th NBA title.

Meanwhile, if Marc Gasol ultimately leaves the Raptors for the Lakers, Toronto has strong interest in replacing him with Markieff Morris, and may be able to offer him more than the Clippers can afford.

Here are more free agency rumors:

  • Darren Wolfson of KSTP 5 Eyewitness News tweets that the Timberwolves also considered adding free agent guard Torrey Craig to their offseason roster. Craig ultimately agreed to a contract with the Bucks this offseason, the terms of which have yet to be released.
  • Though Kent Bazemore wound up returning to the Warriors and his close friend Stephen Curry on a veteran’s minimum contract, the Clippers apparently considered using their $3.6MM bi-annual exception to sign the veteran swingman, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • Though Sixers GM Daryl Morey has already made significant changes to Philadelphia, the club still needs a great perimeter scorer, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes. “Obviously, our job is to always look for opportunities,” Morey commented this weekend. “But we feel very good about where we are right now.” Pompey notes that in Ben Simmons, the Sixers have the kind of All-Star blue chip piece that could fit well into a deal for Rockets superstar perimeter scorer James Harden.

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Simmons, Embiid, Harden, Celtics Draft

The Sixers created an $8.6MM trade exception in their agreed-upon deal that will send Al Horford to the Thunder, John Hollinger of The Athletic reports.

That’s significant, as Hollinger points out, because the front office will not have a full mid-level exception to offer in free agency since the club is in luxury tax territory. The exception can be used in a sign-and-trade this offseason or – more likely – a direct trade for a player under contract.

New president of basketball operations Daryl Morey promises he’ll make some roster moves via the free agent route, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “They’re going to be some additions there,” Morey said of free agency, while adding “we feel very good where we’re at.”

Morey declared that he’s not interested in trading either of his top players, according to the Associated Press’ Dan Gelston. He said Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid “are going to be here for a long time.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics were advised that they shouldn’t pursue a James Harden deal with the Rockets, longtime Celtics beat reporter Steve Bulpett tweets. The front office researched the possibility of adding Harden and were urged to stay away, as the intel regarding the fallout in the Houston organization painted an ugly picture. Presumably, Harden was a part of that dysfunction.
  • The Celtics had three first-round picks to dangle on Wednesday but didn’t move up. It wasn’t for lack of trying, another longtime Celtics beat reporter Mark Murphy tweets. GM Danny Ainge said they explored the possibility but there was “not anything that was really tempting for us in the first part of the draft.” Boston held onto the first two picks and traded the other to the Grizzlies for two future second-rounders.

Stein’s Latest: Thunder, Morey, Rose

Spurs assistant coach Will Hardy, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and Oklahoma City assistant Mark Daigneault are among the candidates who have received strong consideration for the Thunder‘s open head coaching position, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The only one of nine teams making a head coaching change this year that has yet to finalize a new hire, the Thunder are conducting a lengthy, deliberate search for Billy Donovan‘s replacement. While one of the candidates mentioned above could ultimately land the job, Stein admits that he wouldn’t be shocked if Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti hires someone who has yet to be connected to the vacancy. That would be the “Prestian move,” Stein writes.

With the draft just two weeks away and training camps expected to open next month, it likely won’t be long before we get some clarity on OKC’s search.

Here are a few more items of interest from Stein’s latest newsletter for The New York Times:

  • Industry sources estimate that Daryl Morey‘s salary on his new five-year contract with the Sixers is worth over $10MM per year, according to Stein, who adds that some people insist Morey’s new annual salary may even exceed $12MM. Morey had been planning to take a year off after leaving the Rockets this fall, but such an aggressive offer from Philadelphia would certainly have been a factor in his decision to change course.
  • Another new head of basketball operations in the Atlantic, Knicks president Leon Rose, is said to have received an annual salary in the $8MM range, writes Stein.
  • Stein’s newsletter also included a couple Rockets-related notes, which we passed along in an earlier roundup.

Morey Addresses Embiid, Courtship, System, Roster

The Sixers’ new president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, insisted during his introductory press conference that he views Joel Embiid as the leader of a championship team rather than a trade piece, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com relays.

After the longtime Rockets executive embraced small ball with his former team, there’s been speculation that Embiid’s days in Philadelphia might be numbered. Morey says that’s way off base.

“Joel is a dominant, dominant big man. I’m excited to get back to that,” he said. “I worked with Yao Ming and we got very close [to a title] in Houston with Yao Ming. I think we can go all the way with Joel.”

While Embiid is often colorful and sometimes controversial, Morey sees the oft-injured center as the leader of the team. Morey noted that Embiid has been in the team’s practice facility twice a day working out and getting his body in top condition for next season.

“I’ve talked to him, Elton (Brand) obviously knows him well, Doc (Rivers) has talked to him, he wants to win a championship,” Morey said. “He’s a smart player who knows you only have so many opportunities. He pushed everyone to improve the organization, improve the roster, and frankly I’m excited to go on this journey with Joel and Ben (Simmons) moving forward.”

Morey also addressed a number of other topics:

  • Morey originally planned to take a year off after leaving Houston but, somewhat to the dismay of his family, the Sixers’ lobbying efforts won him over, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Elton and Doc and Josh were relentless, just relentless, as soon as I stepped away. (Rivers) and I have been chatting a lot, and the more you dig into the players that are here, the more you get excited about what this team can do.”
  • The Sixers won’t play the same system as the Rockets, who tried to win a championship without a traditional center after trading Clint Capela. “It’s not to take your talent and hammer it into a particular system,” he said. “It’s to try to get the most out of who you have.”
  • He didn’t specifically address his controversial tweet about Hong Kong which drew the wrath of the Chinese government but Morey won’t shy away from social issues, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “I do believe a lot in using this platform to push things that are important,” he said.
  • Morey admits the roster needs to be reshaped in order to produce a true title contender, Pompey adds in another tweet. “Our championship team probably is not going to have the same players that we have now,” he said.
  • Philadelphia’s pursuit of Morey two years earlier never led to serious negotiations, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. Morey said the talks did not go beyond the preliminary stages and the timing wasn’t right for him to make the move.

Sixers Officially Hire Daryl Morey As President Of Basketball Operations

The Sixers have made it official, announcing today in a press release that they’ve hired Daryl Morey as their new president of basketball operations. Within the release, the club also confirmed that general manager Elton Brand has signed a multiyear contract extension.

“Daryl Morey is one of the very best front-office executives in the NBA and I’m thrilled to welcome him to Philadelphia as the 76ers President of Basketball Operations,” Sixers owner Josh Harris said in a statement. “Talent like Daryl rarely becomes available so we moved quickly and aggressively to bring him here. He has an extraordinary track record of success in this league as an innovator, visionary and leader, and I believe he significantly improves our chances of delivering a championship caliber team to our fans.

“This offseason, we made it our mission to make this organization better and stronger. By hiring a tremendous front-office leader in Daryl and championship coach in Doc (Rivers), as well as extending Elton, we’re proud of what we’ve assembled. I’m excited for their leadership and look forward to continuing to build a team this city and our fans can be proud of.”

[RELATED: Sixers Hire Doc Rivers As Head Coach]

Reports first indicated last Wednesday that the Sixers and Morey were in advanced talks on a five-year deal that would make him the team’s president of basketball operations. David Aldridge of The Athletic said at the time that the team envisions Morey and Brand as a “1-2 punch” in the front office, though their titles suggest that Morey will be the one with the final say on basketball decisions.

Morey spent 14 years with the Rockets before parting ways with the franchise in October. In Houston, he developed a reputation as a outside-the-box thinker who was creative in navigating the salary cap and building his roster. The veteran executive, who was known for constantly pursuing star players, helped to revolutionize the Rockets as a small-ball team that relied heavily on shooting three-pointers.

At the time of his departure from Houston, reports indicated that Morey may take some time off before seeking a new NBA job, but the Sixers’ aggressive pursuit convinced him to accept a new position almost immediately. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta had predicted that Morey would eventually join an East Coast franchise, but likely didn’t think it would happen so soon.

For the 76ers, it’s the culmination of their long-standing interest in Morey. Philadelphia received permission to talk to the Rockets’ GM two years ago and reportedly made an offer, but he elected to remain in Houston at that time. Now, Morey will be tasked with making the adjustments necessary to turn a roster headed by All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons into a legit championship contender.

The Sixers have indicated both publicly and privately that it has no plans to trade Embiid or Simmons anytime soon, despite the fact that the fit between the two stars has been awkward at times. However, oversized long-term contracts for Tobias Harris and Al Horford will make it a challenge for the club to reshape its roster around its two franchise players.

Morey said in a statement within today’s Sixers press release that he’s looking forward to trying to win a title in Philadelphia.

“I am humbled by the challenge and will work tirelessly to win the hearts of Philadelphia’s legendary fans,” Morey said. “The opportunity to work again with Doc Rivers, Elton Brand, and a stacked roster that is ready to win made this a can’t miss opportunity.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Elton Brand Gets Extension From Sixers

General manager Elton Brand has signed a multiyear contract extension with the Sixerstweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania adds that a five-year deal with Daryl Morey has been finalized, and he will be introduced as the team’s new president of basketball operations on Monday at a news conference.

Brand has been with the Sixers’ front office since 2016, becoming a player development consultant after his 16-year playing career ended. He was named general manager of their G League affiliate a year later and was promoted to his current position in 2018.

Brand may have agreed to the extension before news broke that Morey was joining the organization. A source told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week that Brand has three years remaining on his contract, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst cited that as a new development (hat tip to RealGM).

“There’s a report out of Philly today, from Keith Pompey, that Elton Brand has three years left on his contract,” Windhorst said Wednesday. “Well, a month ago he had one year left on his contract, so I think there was a possibility Elton Brand got a contract extension that they didn’t announce.”

The organization reportedly views Morey and Brand as a “1-2 punch” as a management team, though Morey will rank higher in the front office hierarchy. Both execs are accustomed to being in charge of personnel decisions, as Morey served as the general manager in Houston for 14 years before leaving the Rockets last month.

Atlantic Notes: Davis, Kansas City, Hinkie, Adams

Raptors guard Terence Davis has entered a not guilty plea after being charged in New York with two counts of assault, harassment, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. As The Athletic’s Eric Koreen writes, Davis’ girlfriend visited him at a Manhattan hotel and they allegedly got into a verbal argument. Davis allegedly hit his girlfriend in the face, then grabbed the victim’s phone and broke it. His next court date is December 11.

The Raptors issued a statement which read in part that they “take these issues very seriously, and we will fully cooperate and support the League in its investigation of this matter as we work to determine the appropriate next steps for our team.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has made a pitch to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, lobbying to bring the Raptors to his city next season, Jonathan Concool of Basketball News relays. The Raptors may need to move their games out of Canada, much like baseball’s Blue Jays did this season, due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Kansas City has an arena fit for an NBA team and while Lucas insists he’s not trying to get the Toronto franchise to move there permanently, he’s hoping it would be a de facto “test run” to show the league the city is worthy of an NBA franchise, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman.
  • Former Sixers executive Sam Hinkie believes his former team made a smart move by hiring Daryl Morey to run their basketball operations, he told ESPN’s Pablo Torre (hat tip to RealGM). “I think it’s great news. He’s not a good hire. He’s a great hire,” he said.  “It’s a really big move for the franchise. For a franchise I care a lot about. With a bunch of people I care a lot about.”
  • Brian Adams is joining Doc Rivers’ Sixers staff, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Adams worked under Rivers for both the Celtics and Clippers before a two-season stint as head coach of the Clippers’ G League team, Agua Caliente.

Sixers Notes: Front Office, Morey, Hughes, Burke

Now that Daryl Morey is finalizing a five-year deal to lead the Sixers‘ front office as their new president of basketball operations, The Athletic is unpacking what that hire could mean for Philadelphia with several pieces.

John Hollinger of The Athletic praises the Morey hire as being the right move. Though Morey and current GM Elton Brand have been touted as both being in charge of front office decision-making, Hollinger speculates that Morey would not have accepted the gig had he not been guaranteed the last word.

After former Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Sam Hinkie rebuilt Philadelphia from the ground up, Hinkie’s old boss now gets his crack at the team’s talented tandem of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, as Rich Hofmann and Derek Bodner of The Athletic write. Embiid was a Hinkie lottery pick, while Simmons was drafted months after Hinkie’s resignation.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer provides further details on the Sixers’ front office shakeup (Twitter link). Brand has three years remaining on his contract and will stick with the team, along with assistant GM Ned Cohen. Current executive VP of basketball operations Alex Rucker will remain with the Sixers as Morey joins the team, after which the Sixers are expected to relieve him of his duties.
  • In other Sixers personnel news, head coach Doc Rivers will keep player-development assistant coach Eric Hughes on his bench, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.
  • New Sixers assistant Dan Burke, who has worked for the Pacers for 23 seasons, was not intending to depart Indiana this summer, per Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Agness notes that Burke is known for his defensive coaching acumen.

Sixers In Advanced Talks To Hire Daryl Morey

Former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is close to joining the Sixers to oversee basketball operations, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Morey will sign a five-year deal by this weekend, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Elton Brand will likely remain as GM after Morey joins the organization, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link). Morey and Brand will serve as a “1-2 punch” in the front office, sources tell David Aldridge of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Morey spent 14 years in Houston before parting ways with the franchise two weeks ago. Negotiations with Philadelphia began shortly after he left the Rockets and escalated in the past few days, according to Wojnarowski. Morey will become the team’s new president, and he has a strong relationship and history with new coach Doc Rivers (Twitter link).

In Houston, Morey developed a reputation as a financial innovator and a risk taker who was known for constantly pursuing star players. He helped to revolutionize the Rockets as a small-ball team that relied heavily on shooting three-pointers.

Morey will try to rebuild the roster in Philadelphia around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but he will face immediate challenges, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). The Sixers have $120MM committed next season to four players: Embiid, Simmons, Tobias Harris and Al Horford. Morey will likely try to make a big move or two and will have picks No. 21, 34, 36, 49 and 58 to offer in this year’s draft.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta recently said he expected Morey to eventually wind up with an East Coast team, though he may not have anticipated it happening so quickly.

Philadelphia received permission to talk to Morey two years ago and reportedly made an offer, but he elected to remain in Houston.

Rockets Notes: Morey, Miller, Roster, Fertitta

Although the 14-year tenure of Rockets GM Daryl Morey did not yield a Finals appearance, his place in basketball history as a daring risk-taker is secure, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle posits. Feigen suggests that the Rockets adjusted to modernity in innovative ways with Morey at the helm.

Morey pioneered significant changes in the team’s shot profile for years. The club went all-in on small ball with an undersized, versatile line-up this season following a deadline trade that sent traditional center Clint Capela to the Hawks.

There’s more out of Houston:

  • If the Rockets opt to hire Jeff Van Gundy to return to the team’s bench as head coach, he may bring former Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller aboard as well, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Van Gundy, who served as the head coach in Houston from 2003-07, worked with Miller during his time coaching Team USA during World Cup qualifiers.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic tracks some of Morey’s cost-cutting moves in recent years, and suggests that the team may have to finally dip into the luxury tax in building its roster under owner Tilman Fertitta if it hopes to compete for a title.
  • As we previously relayed, Fertitta indicated today that he’s looking to keep Houston competitive heading into the 2020/21 season, despite the departures of head coach Mike D’Antoni and Morey thus far this offseason. Led by veteran All-Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Rockets finished as the No. 4 seed in the West, and fell 4-1 to the eventual-champion Lakers in the second round of the 2020 playoffs.